Warriors for the Human Spirit: Finding Our Way in this Brave New World

Meg Wheatley image     jerry-granelli2

Meg Wheatley and Jerry Granelli will teach Warriors for the Human Spirit: Finding Our Way in This Brave New World at Dorje Denma Ling August 20 to August 25. The first night of the program Tuesday, August 20 will be free and open to to the public.

This program engages the questions: What does it take to be an effective leader for these times, one who refrains from using aggression or fear to accomplish their purposes?  Is it possible to transform our exhaustion, and frustration into capacity and meaning, so that we again can lead wholeheartedly? Meg and Jerry offers clear and concise practices for leaders to create “islands of sanity” in the midst of difficult circumstances and bureaucratic organizations. For more information and registration, click here.

Please enjoy this excerpt from Meg’s article “Can We Be Fearless?” 

Fearlessness … has love at its core, but it requires much more of us than

instant action. If we react too quickly when we feel afraid, we either flee or act

aggressively. True fearlessness is wise action, not false bravado or blind

reactivity. It requires that we take time and exercise discernment. Zen teacher

Joan Halifax speaks about the “practice of non-denial.” When we feel afraid, we

don’t deny the fear. Instead, we acknowledge that we’re scared. But we don’t

flee. We stay where we are and bravely encounter our fear. We turn toward it,

we become curious about it, its causes, its dimensions. We keep moving closer,

until we’re in relationship with it. And then, fear changes. Most often, it



I’ve heard many quotes from different traditions that speak to this wonder of fear

dissolving. “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” “The only way out is through.”

Put your head in the mouth of the demon, and the demon disappears.”


Some of my best teachers about fearlessness are part of a global network of

younger leaders (in their teens, twenties and thirties) with whom I’ve worked for

several years. They call themselves “Walk-outs.” They walk out of work and

careers that prevent them from contributing as much as they can, they walk out

of relationships where they don’t feel respected, they walk out of ideas that are

limiting, they walk out of institutions that make them feel small and worthless.

But they don’t walk out to disappear–they walk out to walk on. They walk on to

places where they can make a real contribution, to relationships where they’re

respected, to ideas that call on their strengths, to work where they can discover

and use their potential.


From these younger leaders, I’ve learned the importance of asking periodically,

What might I need to walk out of?” It’s a big question and it demands a lot of

bravery to even ask it. By posing this question, we’re being brave enough to

notice our fears and see them clearly. We’re being brave enough to recognize

where we’re called to be fearless in our own lives. This powerful question helps

us discover the places, the work, and the relationships that we need to walk on to

in order to realize and offer our gifts.


I hold a vision of what’s possible if more of us are willing to practice non-denial, if

we look clearly at what frightens us in our personal lives and in our society. With

clearer vision, we could walk through our fear and say “no” to what disturbs us.

We could walk on and take a stand. We could refuse to be cowed or silenced.

We could stop waiting for approval or support. We could stop feeling tired and

overwhelmed. We could trust the energy of ‘Yes!’ and begin to act for what we

care about.


Fearlessness offers us a great blessing — the strength to endure and persevere.

In late 2004, the Ukrainian people protested a fraudulent election that had denied

them the president they knew they had elected, Vladimir Yushchenko. They

wore orange scarves and waved orange banners, becoming known as the

Orange Revolution.” Their tactic was simple: Go into the streets and stay there

until you get what you need. Refuse to give in, don’t stop protesting until you

accomplish your goal. Their example of persevering protest inspired citizens in

many different countries (as far away as Ecuador and Nepal) to take to the

streets and stay there until they got what they needed.


Today, in this troubled world, we need all the gifts that fearlessness offers us—

love, clear seeing, bravery, intelligent action, perseverance. Fearless, we can

face our fear and move through it. Fearless, we can reclaim our vocation to be

fully human. Fearless, we can bring into being the world that Paulo Freire

dreamed for us all, “a world in which it will be easier to love.” 

To read the full article visit this link.